Advocating is one of my favorite things about being an OT. There isn’t a therapist or a parent that I feel does not need a little more information about what OT actually is. Don’t get me wrong, I love when people on my team (GO SPEECHIES and PT’s!!!) advocate for additional services, but do you really know why you’re advocating for? Parents, when someone suggests additional services does it make you cringe because your child needs more help and you’re not sure why? I’m here to burst ANY and ALL stigma that’s behind OT in the best way I know how, informing.
Guess what, EVERYONE could use OT. Occupational therapy is about being able to do your daily activities/occupations the best you can. The problem OTs face is that everyone’s “occupations” are different. Which means it’s hard to explain exactly what we “do”. It’s personalized to each person based on their needs. For example, if the daily task, like for children, is to play with a toy, an OT is there to teach him/her how to play with the toy in the best way he/she can. If the task is to sit and do homework, an OT is there to teach/modify in order for the child to complete it.
The hardest part is the identification of the “NEED” for OT. In order to help I’ve created a quick list to help identify if a child would benefit from OT services that parents and therapists can use.
Your child may need occupational therapy if he/she…
- HAS DIFFICULTY WITH TOILET TRAINING
- STRUGGLES WITH SLEEP (DOESN’T FALL ASLEEP, DOESN’T STAY ASLEEP, HARD TIME WAKING UP IN THE MORNING)
- DOES NOT TOLERATE HIS/HER CLOTHING (WON’T WEAR SOCKS, ONLY WEARS SHORT OR LONG SLEEVES, WON’T WEAR TIGHT OR LOOSE CLOTHING, MAKES YOU CUT OFF TAGS)
- OVERLY REACTS TO SMELLS OR NOISES
- IS A “PICKY EATER” (REFUSES TO TRY NEW FOOD, GAGS WHEN TRYING NEW TASTES AND TEXTURES
- OVER/UNDER RESPONDS TO PAIN
- RUNS INTO/ “CRASHES” INTO THINGS, NO AWARENESS OF SELF OR OTHERS
- IS UNABLE TO CALM SELF WITH SUCKING ON PACIFIER/BOTTLE, LOOKING/PLAYING WITH TOYS, ETC.
- HAS FREQUENT/LENGTHY CRYING/TANTRUMS
- BECOMES UPSET WHEN TRANSITIONING FROM TASK TO TASK
- IS “CLUMSY”, RUNS INTO ITEMS, TRIPS, STRUGGLES WITH JUMPING AND CLIMBING.
- APPEARS “FLOPPY”, WEAK, SLOUCHES WHEN SITTING/STANDING, PREFERS ACTIVITIES WITH LITTLE OR NO MOVEMENT
- HAS POOR BALANCE (DOESN’T RIDE A BIKE, DOESN’T CLIMB SLIDES, FALLS OFTEN, CRIES WHEN MOVED UNEXPECTEDLY)
- HAS A HARD TIME COMPLETING TASKS DUE TO LACK OF ATTENTION
- AVOIDS FINE MOTOR ACTIVITIES SUCH AS WRITING, COLORING, PLAYING WITH LEGOS
- IS VERY NERVOUS, REPEATEDLY TALKS ABOUT THEIR FEARS
- DOES NOT LIKE THE PLAY GROUND OR PLAYING WITH OTHERS
- PREFERS TO BE ALONE THAN WITH OTHER
Hopefully you can now see the why behind the suggestion for OT Services or you can be the advocate for your child’s need for services. Either way, remember it’s all about advocating for ALL the assistance your child needs 🙂